aka: Arcade Archives: Pac-Man, Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man, Dobişko, Jelly Monsters, NES Classics: Pac-Man, Pac - Man, PacMan, Puck-Man
Moby ID: 138

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 62% (based on 81 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 489 ratings with 10 reviews)

It Sucks that it's based on Pac-man, but it's not a bad game.

The Good
The game it self is pretty decent. It's still fun to play, and, to me, I think the escapes on the top and bottom of the mazes are more useful than the arcade! It's alot easier to dodge the ghosts, since they move in a pre-selected pattern(for the most part). It's a OK game through and through.

The Bad
The main reason that people rip on the 2600 version of Pac-Man so much, is that the game only barely resembles the actual arcade game. The game was clearly rushed, and because of this, the ghosts flicker too much, almost constantly, and there is no longer fruit in the middle of the maze, it's a "Vitamin".

The Bottom Line
Well, I'll admit, it sucks that the game is based off of the classic arcade game, but it's still a playable, and decent game on it's own.

+Fun to play.
+More Useful Exits.
+Easier to dodge ghosts.

-- Rushed.
-- Ghosts flicker too much.
-- It's based on the arcade Pac-Man

THE VERDICT: 6 "Vitamins" out of 10

Atari 2600 · by JohnLennon224 (13) · 2008

How To Make A Great Game... Anything But.

The Good
As a six-year old when the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man came out, I was more excited than anything to have my favorite video game come home. And so I would play this for hours. Even rolled the high score back to zero, I played it so much. Because it was Pac-Man, and to me, that was enough. After all, you did control a yellow dot through a maze eating pellets and running from ghosts. That's Pac-Man, right? Can't argue that the basic premise of the game was there.

I also liked the illustrations found in the game manual, as they had that sleek, rounded style that Atari's illustrator was know for doing with several of Atari's games.

The Bad
However, as I got older, I soon wised up that this game was almost NOTHING like my beloved Pac-Man that I loved in the arcades. Where do I even begin?

The maze was built nothing like the arcade's version. The maze wasn't even colored correctly. The escape tunnel was no longer on the sides, but on the top and bottom. There were no clever maze parts to lose ghosts, on a series of angles that looked like broken squares. And Pac-Man didn't even dots. He ate "wafers". And don't even get me started on the "vitamin" that replaced the fruit.

The ghosts were equally as bad. They were all the same flickering, pastel color. Hard to see, as they blended in with the maze, and devoid of the personality traits from the arcade game. They wandered around the broken maze aimlessly, and sometime, you might get caught. They didn't even flash when they were about to change back. You left them alone when the tone stopped that signified you could chase them. Setting the game in black and white mode allowed the player to see them clearer. Not that they would miss much from the muted colors of the regular game.

Sound effects were a dud. There was a grating four-note tone that replaced the original Pac-Man theme, and it was awful. Dot eating, ghost noises, chasing the ghosts after eating an Energizer.... Nothing even close to the original sounds.

And the greatest mystery of all: Pac-Man could never point up or down. He always floated around the maze facing the side, no matter where he was going.

And of course, no intermissions. Gamers played the same maze, over and over, without stopping.

The Bottom Line
One of the biggest selling games for the Atari, and also one of the biggest disappointments. This was one of those "the name will sell it alone" moments in gaming history, and they were right. But it came with a terrible price to Atari's future. They corrected this mistake (in a very big way) by introducing near-arcade perfect versions (for Atari) of Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Jr., but as far as Pac-Man goes, the ball was dropped. Not only for the game being this way, but for Atari allowing the game to hit the shelves looking like this.

Still, it seemed that Pac-Man was a hard game to accurately port for the longest time. The most "authentic" of the versions is found in Pac-Man Collection for Game Boy Advance.

Atari 2600 Pac-Man is at best a novelty item for classic gaming or Pac-Man enthusiasts. I can't recommend seriously playing it for a Pac-Man fix, but it is an interesting footnote in how a gaming empire crumbled.

For the curious only.

Atari 2600 · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2006

Hey look everybody, it's the Anti-Pac-Man

The Good
Pac-Man must eat all dashes in a maze of corridors, while avoiding the four ghosts. If he does collide with one ghost, he will lose a life. However, if he eats the squares that hide in each corner of the maze, the ghosts will turn blue, allowing him to gobble them up. He must do this in a small amount of time before the ghosts turn back to normal. If the ghosts are too much for him, he can go through the escape tunnels that are located at the top and bottom of the screen. Once all the dashes have been eaten, Pac-Man is warped to the next maze.

The only good thing that I can say about Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 is that it at least stars one of my favorite characters ever since he was born in the eighties.

The Bad
This was supposed to be the flagship title for the best 8-bit system for its time. There was much hype surrounding the Atari 2600 version. When gamers got a chance to play it, they expected it to be faithful to the original game as much as possible. Instead, what they got was a rather poor conversion of the game which suffered from many flaws in its design.

Let's start with the main characters. As you expect, Pac-Man looks like a filled yellow circle with a slice cut out of him. However, he is a bit blocky and looks like a moving wrench with an eye. When he travels north or south throughout the maze, his head does not turn vertically. It is as if he does not look for corners at all. In the original game, the ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde) have different colors so that you can tell them apart. In the A2600 version, however, all the ghosts are the same color so you can't tell them apart. To me, it looks like Atari used only the one ghost, duplicated him three times, and selected random paths for them. To make matters worse, the ghosts flicker badly. Due to the A2600's limitations, only one ghost could be displayed at a time.

Now, gamers who have played other versions of Pac-Man before they had the chance to play the A2600 version will know that the first paragraph in “The Good” section is incorrect. It is too bad that it is true for this port, as Pac-Man actually gobbles up dots, not dashes. He also eats power pellets, not squares. One thing that I forgot to mention in that paragraph is that the fruit that appears randomly in the middle of the screen is indeed a rectangle, but according to the back cover, it is a “video wafer”. The game has a blue background and the maze is colored orange.

Sound-wise, the A2600 port does not even come close to the sound used in the coin-op version. Both the start-up sounds and Pac-Man's dying sounds are bad, and the A2600's sound system only emits a series of beeps when Pac-Man gobbles up the dashes.

The Bottom Line
Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 is a conversion with many flaws, which happen as a result of Atari rushing to get the game released in time for the 1981 christmas season, as well as the lack of testing. This game, along with E.T., is partially to blame for the 1983 video game crash. I'm surprised that the A2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man was given the go-ahead, after this disastrous port was made.

Atari 2600 · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2006

A cool port to the 5200, but it's too slow.

The Good
Like I said, it's Pac-man. and the maze is identical to the legendary arcade game. the ghosts look good, too. The intermissions are the same as the arcade, which is also good.

The Bad
The game is too slow, it takes forever to eat all the dots in the maze, and the ghosts are a little dumb. and the fruit is a little messed up looking. and you can't save your high score. Using the joystick is a nightmare!

The Bottom Line
I would cough up a couple bucks for this, but nothing more. I would personally just play this on a emulator. I would guess this is a good version.

Atari 5200 · by Joel Mitchell (2) · 2006

Not bad, but too little too late on PC

The Good
It's Pac-Man, almost identical to original 1980 release.

The Bad
It came to PC in 1983. There were already numerous Pac-Man clones on PC available and especially "PC-Man", which came to PC one year earlier was just better in every aspect. So original Pac-Man just came a bit late to the party on PC, when better arcades were already available.

The Bottom Line
PC port of Pac-Man is not bad, but seems already washed out in comparison with some other better PC Pac-Man clones.

PC Booter · by Vladimir Dienes · 2023

A decent game on it's own, but needs work.

The Good
That It's Pac-man. You can never beat the gameplay for this game. And it was the only version back then. The game is plenty challenging.

The Bad
The graphics are horrible. The ghosts flicker too much. The maze is completely separate from the arcade version, and the sound effects are all off. And what happened to the fruit in the middle of the maze?

The Bottom Line
If you can get it for at least $1 to $5 Bucks, don't buy it. or you can download it on a emulator. Pac-Man on the Atari isn't a bad game on it's own, but it should not have been based of of the actual arcade game. il'l pass on this one.

Atari 2600 · by Joel Mitchell (5) · 2006

Retro game with a central character and simple objective

The Good
In 1981, Namco, a small game company released Pac-Man, a concept that occurred when one of the company's game designers ordered a slice of pizza and looked at it after removing a slice., then he decided to make his first game based on the remains. When Pac-Man came out, it was all the rage, and almost everybody wanted to play it.

Pac-Man was one of the first games of its kind. Until then, video games comprised of vertical shooters, where people controlled a ship that must shoot down enemy ships, aliens, asteroids, etc. Seeing Pac-Man for the first time provided some relief for those who already got bored of shooters. Unlike other games around its time, Pac-Man was also the first to have a central character, in which you can move freely in any direction you like – up, down, left, and right.

What I like about the game is its simple objective – navigate the one maze while gobbling up dots and avoiding four ghosts; named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, who love to make a meal out of Pac-Man. If you get eaten, you will lose one of your three lives. Grab a power pellet from any corner of the maze, and you have the opportunity to eat a ghost. Use the escape tunnels located at each side of the maze to confuse them. Occasionally, a fruit will appear in the middle of the maze. Gobble this up as well for big points. Gobble up all the dots (and the power pellets) to move onto the next (and difficult) maze. Every two or so mazes, you are treated to an intermission, which are funny to view.

The NES version comes close to the original game as possible. Apart from the status bar, which is located on the right side rather than the top, Namco has made sure that this would be a rather good conversion of Pac-Man. These include giving each ghost a different color so that you can tell them apart, putting blue mazes against a black background, and making sure that the sounds between the arcade and this remains the same.

The Bad
A little bit of variation would have been nice. With different maze layouts, and the colors used for each maze, not just blue all the time.

The Bottom Line
Pac-Man was all the rage back in its heyday, and it is still enjoyable today. In fact, Pac-Man was so popular back then that Namco decided to do several sequels, starting with Ms. Pac-Man. I believe that the NES version is brilliant – it captures the same look and feel that the original had, without having more features added to it that can spoil gameplay.

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2006

One of the best games of the generation.

The Good
I think Pac-man is really cute. The mazes are very challenging. The whole concept of the game is so cool, a little creature collecting dots to finish levels is so innocent, so well-natured, even some of the most innocent looking games of the generation like Gubble, have a dark storyline. There are 3 ghosts that are chasing you around the mazes. There is no specific story for this game, there is no unsuitable content in this game, this game alone has spawned great sequels like Gobstopper Gobbler and Ms. Pac PC.

The Bad
There have been several lame attempts to try and resurrect the wonderfulness of these games with unsuitable content, a variety of guns and animated blood and gore so that it will appeal to M17+ gamers like Capman.

The Bottom Line
The best arcade game even after all these years. This game made my all-time favorite game list. A 5 out of 5 for all the Platforms that it was released on.

PC Booter · by Jim Fun (207) · 2001

Terrible Version of Pac Man

The Good
The gameplay is classic Pac Man. Graphics are arcade perfect

The Bad
The reason is that this version is just too frustrating. The ghosts move way too fast and once edible, turn back instantly. This difficulty detracts from the overall Pac experience and makes the game more a chore to play than fun. This coupled on with somewhat unresponsive controls makes it a classic game ruined. This version's sound is grating for some unknown reason. When you are playing this game, please turn down the sound and listen to Buckner and Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever".

The Bottom Line
If you don't know the gameplay (get out from that rock you've been living in), here's the lowdown. You play Pac- Man as he races around a maze to collect all the dots. However, there are four "ghosts" (If you know their names, good for you, but I don't care to learn them.) chasing you. If you touch the ghost, you lose a life. You could defeat them if you collect a bigger dot, which causes them to be temporarily vunerable. Also, you can collect fruit to get a higher score. The overall goal is to get the highest score

Xbox 360 · by Cody Cooper (5) · 2006

Simple fun, but not worth your money anymore

The Good
It's Pac-Man and you can't possibly go wrong with Pac-Man unless you try to do something stupid with it. The goal is to eat dots and avoid ghosts, optionally you can also eat the big dots, so you can eat ghosts and it doesn't get anymore complicated then that. It looks, plays and sounds exactly the same as the original arcade and I bought it for only ten euros (which means it's also incredibly cheap). It's one of the best ports from an arcade game to a home console I have ever seen, god bless the NES.

My memory may betray me, but I don't remember the cut-scenes at all which leads me to believe that Nintendo added them on their own. Every few levels you get a cute little cut-scene with Pac-Man and the ghosts doing something funny, it's good for a quick laugh after you spend a few minutes dodging ghosts, but it's no Ninja Gaiden either. I actually loved/love to not tell people about these little animation until they finally completed the level, the surprised look on their faces was and still is priceless.

The Bad
I am a bit disappointed in the fact that there is only one level, I am not sure if more show up as you make progress, but I doubt it because they would have at least shown you that there are more levels at the start. The only thing that really changes after you complete a level is that the rules change slightly; ghosts spawn faster, the ghosts go faster or the special dots last shorter. This makes the game fun, but not something you'd probably play for longer periods of time.

Having a multi-player mode is pretty sweet, but here it's rather odd. Tell me: what would you make the second player do if you designed the multi-player for this game? Would you:

A. Make them control one of the ghosts? B. Make them play as a second Pac-Man? C. Make the player both play their own game on the same screen? or D. Have them take turns playing?

If you chose D, you're incredibly stupid. I just don't see the point in having people take turns playing, you might as well play the Single-player and pass the controller around, we don't need a separate mode for that.

The Bottom Line
Pac-Man for the NES is a brilliant port of an almost flawless game and if you are a collector then this one should definitely be in your collection. If you just want to play some of the best games on the NES, then this one is also worth a look, but I highly recommend avoiding it in that case. Why? Well because every eight year old with a computer and Flash can make a Pac-Man game nowadays. I may have only paid ten euros for it, but you can find much better versions of this game on free websites like Kongregate and those probably have much more variety in the levels.

NES · by Asinine (957) · 2011

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by CalaisianMindthief, RhYnoECfnW, Maner76, Kayburt, Big John WV, vedder, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, Scaryfun, Alaka, Jo ST, S Olafsson, Wizo, Tim Janssen, 64er, Ritchardo, tbxx, Alsy, Hello X), Jeanne, vileyn0id_8088, Stratege, PCGamer77, Guy Chapman, lights out party, Mr Almond, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), chirinea, jumpropeman, Cantillon, Terok Nor, Hipolito Pichardo, Jan Geerling, FatherJack.